For a long time, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) has been considered essential for teaching critical thinking skills and instilling a passion for innovation. It has been observed that STEM assists in problem-solving and exploratory learning that fuel success across a variety of tasks and disciplines.
Recently, a new approach to STEM Education has developed, an approach which includes Arts in the list as well! STEM is now converting into STEAM (the ‘A’ denoting Arts). Why would we include arts now, and why did we not do that before? Let’s first look at why we should consider Arts as essential to wholesome growth.
The massive umbrella called Arts covers, under its shade, subjects like History, Geography, Political Sciences, Psychology, Sociology, as well as Languages. Oxford defines ‘Arts’ as various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.
The essence of human activities is individuality and creative effort. All our endeavours as a collective species prove that an irrevocable miracle has occurred. The proof of abstract thought, the proof of humanity, lies within lines drawn to represent limbs, and a circle to represent the face. It lies in understanding emotions as a part of different colours; of understanding sound, light, and life. We were brave enough to ask what life was, why we are here, who we are, and what purpose we have as sentient bodies. We understand the grandeur of our insignificance, and yet, get giddy, when we serve, blush when we present flowers, cry over someone leaving and smile when someone looks into our eyes. This is known as the art of being human.
The study of Arts is necessary if one hopes to pursue the way of life on this planet. The reason is very simple. There has to be an understanding of creativity, one’s individuality, one’s own mind and body, and its capabilities and limitations. Few things come close to the joys of art, and much fewer words come close to describing the inherent value behind the study of such a phenomenon. Arts is very closely related to the Sciences, but at the same time, is quite far away from them. It includes everything from avant-garde processes to how everyday life is lived; from communication to creativity, the Arts show life how it is lived.
Moreover, as we all are aware, the brain is divided into two hemispheres – in common terminology, the left brain and the right brain. The right brain claims that it’s the ‘creative’ side, whereas the left brain is the ‘logical’ side. It’s true, that every child has his or her own inclinations toward the logical or the creative, but for holistic development, there should always be a subtle combination between the two – the Artistic and the Scientific.
Coming back to the subject of STEAM, as all the rest of its letters carry within them a plethora of resources for the growth of an individual, it has come to our understanding that the ‘A’ has been so essential, that it was missing all along! Arts, after all, help learners to develop the kind of creativity, ingenuity, communication, and skills that will assist them in their education, as well as employment opportunities.